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Healthcare reform opportunities emerge in big data, decision support tools

Deanna Pogorelc

Regardless of what the Supreme Court decides about President Obama’s US healthcare reform package, the general feeling in the industry is that healthcare will continue to evolve toward a model that improves care and cuts costs.

That provides a wealth of new entrepreneurial opportunities for healthcare innovators, according to Aneesh Chopra, the U.S. chief technology officer. “As we move the healthcare system to one that focuses on outcomes, quality or value, you start to open up a market for new products and services,” he says in this Stanford Technology Ventures Program address.

With financial incentives from the government to keep people healthier at a lower cost, providers are becoming more proactive, he says. In the past, IT companies developing advanced scheduling and billing software have been successful because providers were responding to patients’ requests for appointments. But what happens to the market if, instead, doctors are asked which patients they would like to see on any given day, because those patients are most likely to need an intervention or some kind of acute care in the near future?

Suddenly tools for data mining, care coordination, patient engagement, and decision support become much more important.

“Those products and services have not had the business case or an investor’s thesis here before because they were not reimbursable,” Chopra says. “These innovations need a market that allows them to scale.”

One provision of the Affordable Care Act allows new payment models that lead to demonstrably better healthcare experiences for seniors to be scaled throughout the entire reimbursement system without having to go back to Congress.

“That’s giving investors more confidence that their products, which they believe will fuel this value-driven healthcare system, that they have a chance to see the revenue model come to fruition,” Chopra says.

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